Charlotte Observer's Tim Funk: Serious Journalist?

The respected publication, National Journal, called Larry Kissell's (NC-08) gas event a "sweet deal" for some motorists. The Charlotte Observer's, Tim Funk, calls it a gimmick.

I'm not going to try to make a comparison between the National Journal and The Charlotte Observer. There is none. However, I do believe that a professional journalist should have a better command of the English language than your average third grader. Tim Funk apparently does not.

The primary definition of the word "gimmick" in every source I checked runs along the line of, "trick, or deceptive tactic". Selling gas for $1.22 to over 500 people in an area where many are out of work, and stretching the event out more than two hours beyond the time given so that every person in line could be served is not a gimmick.

Funk might find a tertiary definition of the word that backs him up and say he's fine with using "gimmick" in this situation, but a closer look at a list of synonyms in a thesaurus quickly proves that it is actually Tim Funk who is being deceptive. It is either that or he is showing gross incompetance in his grasp of our language.

Why am I picking on poor little Timmy over the use of one wrong word? Heh, because he is paid to write words - to string them together so that they make sense. He's paid to report stories, not to just make stuff up or create a lie based on the use of one word. He isn't part of the editorial board. He's a reporter. There's supposed to be a difference.

So, does poor word choice completely botch the article Timmy has in the Observer this morning? It comes close, but his decision to interview DC insider, Stuart Rothenberg on the race is what sends the article into the realm of complete and total crap.

Funk chooses to get an opinion on the race from a man who hasn't attended any events in the district, spoken with any of the people in the district, apparently hasn't taken a close look at any of the polls and can't possibly have read any of the brilliant pieces I've written on the race(heh). Funk gets this gem from Stu Rothenberg in reference to the wave that might sweep Democrats into office.

"for Kissell to beat Robin Hayes, it would have to be like the wave that destroyed Atlantis."

Ah, yes, Stu....Atlantis...wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Stuart Rothenberg apparently gets his education in history from Walt Disney movies and that doesn't give me much confidence that he's getting his information about North Carolina's 8th Congressional District from any more reliable a source. Rothenberg might be a respected pol, but he should be a little more responsible when tossing out his comments. He obviously hasn't looked beyond his nose at this race and his flippant comment shouldn't be given the respect or weight that a serious Rothenberg analysis deserves.

Between the poor (or intentionally deceptive) word choice and the reference to the fantasy of Atlantis and a tidal wave that never happened, we can conclude one of two things. Tim Funk is either an incompetent reporter, or he's a right-wing shill. I'm not sure which is worse.


Linked to the article

I failed to do so initially.

Click on the hat to see all Citizen Journalist files

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.


Im gonna send him a response asking him to apologize for his choice of words.

Lyndon Helton for NC Senate

"Keep the Faith"


I thought that the highest ideal a reporter should seek is to be objective. To call Larry Kissell's campaign event for gas a gimmick is biased to an extreme degree. Please explain how it was a gimmick. Please explain why you decided to imply that his entire campaign was a gimmick. Please explain why you feel the need to put your own opinion into an article that should be free of bias.

Lyndon Helton for NC Senate

"Keep the Faith"

Bias vs. Facts.

If he had come out in the paper with a long list of facts and data, with polling and fundraising. With quotes from local experts in local politics; then, if he had said that in his opinion there was no chance Larry Kissell would win, that would be one thing.

However, it appears that what he did was say "This gas gimmick is silly. There is no WAY a Democrat can take out Hayes." That's wrong.

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.


What word would you have used to describe it?
I didn't mean to pass judgment at all. I used the word to describe an event that had brought him a lot of media and voter attention. That's what candidates do -- try to raise their profile so voters will know about them and support them.
I was told that the Kissell campaign even used the word "stunt" to describe the lower-gas giveaway. "Gimmick" strikes me as better than "stunt."
Anyway, thanks for reading and sorry if my word choice offended you. I didn't mean it to be read as opinionated.
Take care,

Ill admit, I was mildly pleased by his response, and I was glad that he responded within a reasonable amount of time.

Lyndon Helton for NC Senate

"Keep the Faith"

That's a decent response.

I would have used the word 'event' which is what Rob C. did at the N&O.

It's nice that he responded

but a private note to you does not correct the tone that has been set for the public. Maybe I think that more people know the actual meaning of the word gimmick than actually know the meaning of the word.....if you know what I mean. Maybe the reading public really does read at the third grade level and they won't see any harm in it. Maybe I'm being too hard on a man who uses words to earn a living.

He makes a living writing words. Think about it for a minute.

It's a nice response and great that it came so quickly. Too bad he didn't put that much time and thought into the piece he wrote. If he had, he might have done a better job.

Click on the hat to see all Citizen Journalist files

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

cant disagree

I cant disagree with you.

Also, A, I put "event" in my response in response to his question. I said it would be non judgemental or something like that.

Lyndon Helton for NC Senate

"Keep the Faith"

More coverage.

Let's face it. If Funk were a journalist, he would run another story looking at the "event" from an investigative point of view. What was the message? Was it a fair message? Did the message get across to the people in NC-08?

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Jim Morrill calls it a "promotion" this morning

as he gives a rundown of local political ads in the Observer. Lots of neutral words out there. Glad some reporters are capable of finding them.

Click on the hat to see all Citizen Journalist files

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Ah for the switch of a letter.

Poor Timmy's probably just upset because everyone thinks his name is Fuck instead of Funk, neither of which is very appealing.

I hope there's an LTE in the works.

Welcome to McClatchy, Inc., where no news is worth the trouble of honest reporting.

Sorry for being so harsh today

The McClatchy family and its barrels of ink are getting to me.

By the way, did you know that Rob Christensen grubs elbows with the Stagemanager as a guest on one of the talking head shows? That's what I heard?

WTF? An almost real journalist gracing the stage with a certified right wing opinion generator with a "multi-million dollar operation"? Seems unseemly if it's true.


Don't sweat it, it's just noise.

He has to do that Siskel and Ebert banter on his own and it's so hard to do that Atlantis thumbs up/down thing when your fingers are webbed:

Robin Hayes in NC-08? Now there's a fish out of water. Rothenburg? It's not even clear if he interviewed him or quoted him. We don't have to take what the DCCC wants to "Rahm" down our throats.

I'll get the links....

Click on the hat to see all Citizen Journalist files

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Christensen handled a little differently today

But the fact that three congressional races are in doubt makes this the most competitive congressional election in a decade. Why? Mainly because there is a strong Democratic tailwind blowing as a result of the Iraq war, President Bush's slump in the polls and high gas prices.

This year North Carolina has an A race, a B race and a C race.

* The A Race. The most likely incumbent to start collecting his congressional pension is Republican Charles Taylor. Of course, mountain Democrats have been saying that every election. Heath Shuler, a Heisman Trophy runner-up as quarterback at the University of Tennessee, is the Democratic challenger in the 11th District. Taylor is presumably weakened by a series of ethics controversies. Several polls show Shuler ahead. Still, Taylor is a wily veteran who knows how to deliver pork for his district. And Shuler was a bust in the NFL.

* The B Race. The 8th District, which stretches from the Charlotte area to the Fayetteville area, is one district that politicians have not fixed. It really is competitive. Since 1998, it has belonged to Republican Robin Hayes, a former GOP nominee for governor and an heir to the Cannon textile fortune. Hayes has handily won past races, when he was blessed with little-known, under-financed opponents. He has one again in Larry Kissell, a high school teacher from Montgomery County. But Kissell has shown some moxie. Among other things, his campaign staged an event at which he sold gas for $1.22 a gallon, the price of gas when Hayes first took office.

Why he includes Vermin in the "C Race" though, is beyond me.

* The C Race. Democrat Brad Miller is in a favorable district. It should be. He drew it himself when he was in the state legislature. And that should be enough in what is likely a year for Democrats. But Republican Vernon Robinson has a way of kicking up a lot of dust. His most recent ad attacking Miller features the theme song from "The Beverly Hillbillies" to attack Miller on immigration.

At least he didn't call Larry's event a gimmick like Fu*k did.

If we had 100 counties in this thing...

they might be talking about the wild-card out in NC-XX that is drawing national attention. As I've said before, if we push for two races, the second becomes the long-shot. If we say we are definitely going to win three races and run that way, then the first two become "givens" and people start to argue about the 3rd.

Right now Kissell and Shuler are givens, but XXXXX is our arguable third win. You fill in the blank.

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Or, he's an

incompetent hack...writing off the top of his head instead of doing the leg work to put together a fact based column.

Come to think of it, has anyone ever seen Tim Funk and Andy Curliss in a room together?

Robin Hayes Hates Puppies

the wave exists

I looked on my maps and Atlantis does not appear.
It was destroyed by the wave. Robin Hayes therefor will not exist after this flood of BLUE water.